Saved by the Hops

- by Bill Craver

When someone from the community approached Legion Brewing with information about a program created by hop farmers to find a cure for ALS, our brewers were quick to ‘hop’ on board. Now in its fifth year, Ales for ALS™ has raised over $1,250,000 to fund ALS research.

ALS is commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the famous baseball player who was diagnosed with it in the 1930s. An untreatable affliction, ALS gets worse over time, attacking the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, eventually leading to total paralysis. While scientists have learned a lot about ALS, there is still no known cure.

How is ‘Ales for ALS’ trying to help? By funding ALS research! Here’s how the program works…

Two leaders in the hop-growing industry, Loftus Ranches and Hopunion are harnessing the power of hops to create a community of craft beer suppliers, producers, and consumers to join forces in the fight against ALS. Participating brewers receive a proprietary hop blend, free of charge and agree to donate a portion of the sales to ALS research. Legion Brewing is delighted to join a distinguished list of craft breweries from across the nation, including three from the Queen City, that are supporting this worthwhile initiative.

Central to the program, the unique Hop Blend included Citra, Loral and four experimental hop varieties. Together, the blend contributes to intricate fruit-forward, floral, and pine notes. [Suffice it to say, our brewers couldn’t wait to get their hands on these hops!]

Sitting atop a strong malt backbone comprised of Epiphany Pale and Wheat Malts, our brewers found a great combination, which we’re calling Saved by the Hops (American Pale Ale, 5% ABV, 34 IBUs). A refreshing and hoppy ale with sufficient supporting malt, this beer is balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence reflects a combination of classic, modern American, and New World hop varieties with a wide range of characteristics.

“To me, ‘Saved by the Hops’ is a moderately-strengthed, hop-forward pale ale. It’s hoppy for sure, but still a bit more accessible than modern American IPAs,” notes Head Brewer, Alexa Long. “Most importantly, we really enjoyed being part of Ales for ALS. It’s a great twist on charitable giving that represents a fun way for breweries to raise funds for a good cause.”

For more information on how breweries are banding together to fight ALS, please check out the ‘Ales for ALS’ website at